Newcastle’s search for signings drags on, as boss Rafa Benitez prepares for start of pre-season training

Manchester City's Fernando has been linked with Newcastle.
Manchester City's Fernando has been linked with Newcastle.
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Newcastle United’s search for a second summer signing is set to drag on into next week – as the clock ticks down to the start of pre-season training.

The Magpies have signed only one player – winger Christian Atsu – so far this summer, with the Premier League season just seven weeks away.

Owner Mike Ashley pledged to back Rafa Benitez with “every penny” the club generated through promotion as Championship champions last month.

And Benitez was keen to see several new faces arrive at St James’s Park before the start of pre-season training on July 3.

But progress in the transfer market has been slow up to now.

Newcastle’s recruitment efforts are set against the backdrop of discussions with overseas investors about a full or partial sale of the club, which parted company with chief scout Graham Carr this week.

Benitez wants Eibar defender Florian Lejeune, who could cost £8.8million. However, any deal for Lejeune is not expected to be completed this week.

The Tynesiders were yesterday strongly linked with a £5million move for Manchester City midfielder Fernando.

Fernando is a player United have considered, but the club has not firmed up its interest in the 29-year-old.

Newcastle are also set to lose out on Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, who is set to join Premier League rivals Swansea City on a season-long loan.

Meanwhile, Newcastle will travel to Germany in pre-season.

Benitez’s side will take on VfL Wolfsburg on Wednesday, August 2.

The game will be staged at the AOK Stadion, the home of the Bundesliga club’s development and women’s teams, with a 4pm kick-off, local time.

Newcastle are close to finalising a second warm-up fixture in Germany.

Meanwhile, Newcastle keeper Matz Sels has joined Belgian champions Anderlecht on a season-long loan. “Competing in the Champions League is a big challenge,” said Sels, 25.